Tate Britain, Milbank, London
Running until May 29
David Hockney is, without a doubt, one of the most renowned and enduring artists of our time. Spanning styles from abstract, landscape and, in recent years, multimedia installations, Hockney has also proved to be one of the most adaptable artists currently working. The current exhibition at Tate Britain is a survey of nearly sixty years of his work, from his early paintings through his iconic depictions of Hollywood to his current, touchscreen based pieces. The exhibition is everything one could expect and more from such an ambitious retrospective on such an ambitious artist.
The exhibition is spread across twelve rooms, each of which contains work from a different period of Hockney’s artistic life. The idea that each room can contain completely different styles is itself a testament to the flexibility of Hockney as an artist. The first room contains a selection of Hockney’s most thought provoking pieces and serves to whet the appetite for things to come.
As somebody with a good general knowledge of Hockney, though limited to his more well-known works, this exhibition was a revelation. From his first exhibitions exploring the normalisation of gay relationships to his innovative and captivating depictions of water, it is certain that Hockney deserves every ounce of praise he has received. Complete with thought-provoking analysis from the Tate’s accompanying guide, this exhibition masterfully succeeds in presenting an already world-famous and highly exhibited artist in an entirely new and original way.
Each room represents something new and you would be forgiven for mistaking this exhibition as the work of more than one artist. The most unique room, the final room, showcases what Hockney is producing now. He has given up his sketchbook for an iPad which has opened the door to great new possibilities. On large LED screens one can watch Hockney draw from the first sketch to the final piece and it is a fantastic new take on artistic representation and interaction in art.
The exhibition is an absolute must see. With pieces from private collections, trust funds and charities, there is no certainty that all of this work will be viewable in one place again in the near future. With this in mind, make sure you get to Tate Britain before May 29 or risk missing out on the year’s most exciting exhibition.